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Julia Smith

Last updated 05 October 2015


Julia Smith

Born: Thu 26th May 1927
Died: Thu 19th June 1997 (age: 70)

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Julia Smith was an English television director and producer. She is best known as a writer and co-creator of the BBC soap opera EastEnders..

London-born Smith became involved in television production when she directed the series Suspense in 1962. Soon, she was directing popular BBC shows such as Z Cars (in 1962); and Doctor Who (in 1966), where she directed the stories "The Smugglers" and "The Underwater Menace". In 1967 she directed an adaptation of The Railway Children with Jenny Agutter that was successful enough for it to lead to the fondly remembered 1970 film in which Agutter reprised her role of Roberta.

Whilst working on Z Cars she had met Tony Holland who was a writer for the show. The two of them became an established producer/script-editor team and went on to work for the BBC's long-running hospital drama, Angels (1975) from 1979 to 1983.

In 1983 the BBC contacted Smith and Holland to create a new popular bi-weekly serial drama. Two ideas were given to them, one about a caravan site, the other about a shopping arcade. Neither of them liked either of the ideas, and demanded to be able to create something about what they knew - in the words of Smith - "London - today!"

Together they came up with the idea of a serial set in the East End of London in a Victorian Square. When casting for the show, Smith had the guideline 'Only genuine Eastenders need apply'; it was this that gave her the idea for the name of the show, which would be called EastEnders after other names were rejected.

After the success of EastEnders, Smith and Holland collaborated again on the ill-fated BBC soap opera Eldorado. Holland created the series � based on an original idea by Verity Lambert � and Smith was producer. Eldorado was produced by Lambert through her own company Cinema Verity Productions

She died of cancer in Kensington and Chelsea, London, in 1997